Marie Tharp, hero
Data visualization — Continental drift — Heretics and heros

Historian: Plate tectonics and continental drift are basic features of geology. Not long ago these ideas were high heresy. One of the reasons that high heresy became orthodox was the visualization of Atlantic ocean depth data by Marie Tharp as is recounted nicely in this video [link].

Physicist: This reminds me of our friend, colleague, and fellow heretic Al Wolfson. Al studied bird migration and puzzled over strange long migration paths. He saw that the puzzle is solved if the birds evolved so that their migration path kept up with the drift of the continents. He published his result in Science in 1948 [link] and was quickly labeled a heretic.

Historian: It is important to note that data visualization is also a hero of the story. This piece by Science about why "Beijing-based data scientist Yann Boquillod founded AirVisual Earth, an online air pollution map that uses data from satellites and more than 8000 monitoring stations to display global air pollution in real time" [link]. In case that link goes away, here is the AirVisual Earth [link].

Physicist: It looks like Yann Boquillod used one of my favorite data visualization tools [link]. There is much to browse at this site.

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